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Sixthly, That not only the plot of getting Overbury into the Tower, and the devices to hold him and keep him there; but the strange manner of his close keeping, being in but for a contempt, was by the device and means of my Lord of Somerset, who denied his father to see him, denied his servants that offered to be shut up close prisoners with him; and in effect handled it so, that he was close prisoner to all his friends, and open and exposed to all his enemies.

Seventhly, That the advertisements which my lady received from time to time from the lieutenant or Weston, touching Overbury's state of body or health, were ever sent up to the court, though it were in progress, and that from my lady such a thirst and listening this lord had to hear that he was despatched.


Lastly, There was a continual negotiation to set Overbury's head on work, that he should make some recognition to clear the honour of the lady; and that he should become a good instrument towards her and her friends: all which was but entertainment; for your lordships shall plainly see divers of my Lord of Northampton's letters, whose hand was deep in this business, written, I must say it, in dark words and clauses; that there was one thing pretended and another intended; that there was a real charge, and there was somewhat not real; a main drift, and a dissimulation. Nay, farther, there be some passages which the peers in their wisdom will discern to point directly at the impoisonment.

Londoners, and another to deal with the peers; whose objects, perhaps, will not be so much what is before them in the present case, which I think is as odious to them as to the vulgar, but what may be hereafter. Besides, there be two disadvantages, we that shall give in evidence. shall meet with, somewhat considerable; the one, that the same things often opened, lose their freshness, except there be an aspersion of some what that is new; the other is, the expectation raised, which makes things seem less than they are, because they are less than opinion. There fore, I were not your attorney, nor myself, if I should not be very careful, that in this last part, which is the pinnacle of your former justice, all things may pass "sine offendiculo, sine scru pulo." Hereupon I did move two things, which, having now more fully explained myself, I do, in all humbleness, renew. First, that your majesty will be careful to choose a steward of judgment, that may be able to moderate the evidence, and cut off digressions; for I may interrupt, but I cannot silence: the other, that there may be special care taken for the ordering the evidence, not only for the knitting, but for the list, and, to use your majesty's own words, the confining of it. This to do, if your majesty vouchsafe to direct it yourself, that is the best; if not, I humbly pray you to require my lord chancellor, that he, together with my lord chief justice, will confer with myself, and my fellows, that shall be used for the marshalling and bounding of the

[After this inducement followed the evidence evidence, that we may have the help of his 'tself.]


IT MAY PLEASE YOUR MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY, At my last access to your majesty, it was fit for me to consider the time and your journey, which maketh me now trouble your majesty with a remnant of that I thought then to have said: besides your old warrant and commission to me, to advertise your majesty when you are "aux champs," of any thing that concerned your service, and my place. I know your majesty is "nunquam minus solus, quam cum solus:" and I confess, in regard of your great judgment, under which nothing ought to be presented but well weighed, I could almost wish that the manner of Tiberius were in use again, of whom Tacitus saith, "Mos erat quamvis præsentem scripto adire;" much more in absence. I said to your majesty that which I do now repeat, that the evidence upon which my Lord of Somerset standeth indicted, is of a good strong thread, considering impoisoning is the darkest of offences; but that the thread must be well spun and woven together; for, your majesty knoweth, it is one thing to deal with a jury of Middlesex and

opinion, as well as that of my lord chief justice; whose great travels, as I much commend, yet that same "plerophoria," or over-confidence, doth always subject things to a great deal of chance.

There is another business proper for me to crave of your majesty at this time, as one that have, in my eye, a great deal of service to be done concerning your casual revenue; but considering times and persons, I desire to be strengthened by some such form of commandment under your royal hand, as I send you here enclosed. I most humbly pray your majesty to think, I understand myself right well in this which I desire, and that it tendeth greatly to the good of your service. The warrant I mean not to impart, but upon just occasion; thus, thirsty to hear of your majesty's good health, I rest

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My lord chancellor and myself spent Thursday majesty's pleasure that my lord chancellor and I and yesterday, the whole forenoons of both days, shall proceed to the examination of him, for that in the examination of Sir Robert Cotton; whom of the Duke of Lenox differs, in that there is not we find hitherto but empty, save only in the the like cause as in that of Somerset, then his great point of the treaty with Spain. majesty may be pleased to direct his commandment and warrant to my lord chief justice, to deliver unto me the examination he took of Sir William Mounson, that those, joined to the

This examination was taken before his majesty's warrant came to Mr. Vice-Chamberlain, for communicating unto us the secrets of the pensions; which warrant I received yesterday information which we have received from Mr. morning, being Friday, and a meeting was appointed at my lord chancellor's in the evening, after council; upon which conference we find matter of farther examination for Sir Robert Cotton, of some new articles whereupon to examine Somerset, and of entering into examination of Sir William Mounson.

Wherefore, first for Somerset, being now ready to proceed to examine him, we stay only upon the Duke of Lenox, who it seemeth is fallen sick and keepeth in; without whom, we neither think it warranted by his majesty's direction, nor agreeable to his intention, that we should proceed; for that will want, which should sweeten the cup of medicine, he being his countryman and friend. Herein, then, we humbly crave his majesty's direction with all convenient speed, whether we shall expect the duke's recovery, or proceed by ourselves; or that his majesty will think of some other person, qualified, according to his majesty's just intention, to be joined with us. I remember we had speech with his majesty of my Lord Hay; and I, for my part, can think of no other, except it should be my Lord Chancellor of Scotland, for my Lord Binning may be thought too near allied.

Vice-Chamberlain, may be full instructions unto us for his examination. Farther, I pray let his majesty know, that on Thursday in the evening, my lord chief justice and myself attended my lord chancellor at his house, for the settling that scruple which his majesty most justly conceived in the examination of the Lady Somerset; at which time, resting on his majesty's opinion, that that evidence, as it standeth now uncleared, must, "secundum leges sanæ conscientia" be laid aside; the question was, whether we should leave it out, or try what a re-examination of my Lady Somerset would produce? Whereupon we agreed upon a re-examination of my Lady Somerset, which my lord chief justice and I have appointed for Monday morning. I was bold at that meeting to put my lord chief justice a posing question; which was, Whether that opinion which his brethren had given upon the whole evidence, and he had reported to his majesty, namely, that it was good evidence, in their opinions, to convict my Lord of Somerset, was not grounded upon this part of the evidence now to be omitted, as well as upon the rest: who answered positively, No; and they never saw the exposition of the letter, but the letter only.

I am farther to know his majesty's pleasure The same Thursday evening, before we entered concerning the day; for my lord chancellor and I into this last matter, and in the presence of Mr. conceived his majesty to have designed the Mon- Secretary Winwood, who left us when we went day and Tuesday after St. George's feast; and, to the former business, we had conference connevertheless, we conceived also, that his majesty cerning the frauds and abusive grants passed to understood that the examinations of Somerset the prejudice of his majesty's state of revenue; about this, and otherwise touching the Spanish where my lord chief justice made some relation practices, should first be put to a point; which of his collections which he had made of that will not be possible, as time cometh on, by reason kind; of which I will only say this, that I heard of this accident of the duke's sickness, and the nothing that was new to me, and I found my lord cause we find of Sir William Mounson's exami- chancellor, in divers particulars, more ready than nation, and that divers of the peers are to be sent I had found him. We grew to a distribution both for from remote places. of times and of matters, for we agreed what to begin with presently, and what should follow, and also we had consideration what was to be holpen by law, what by equity, and what by par

It may please his majesty, therefore, to take into consideration, whether the days may not well be put off till Wednesday and Thursday after the term, which endeth on the Monday, liament; wherein I must confess, that in the last being the Wednesday and Thursday before Whitsuntide; or, if that please not his majesty, in respect, it may be, his majesty will be then in town, whereas these arraignments have been still in his majesty's absence from town, then to take Monday and Tuesday after Trinity Sunday, being the Monday and Tuesday before Trinity


of these, of which my lord chief justice made most account, I make most doubt. But the conclusion was, that, upon this entrance, I should advise and confer at large with my lord chief justice, and set things in work. The particulars I refer till his majesty's coming.

The learned counsel have now attended me twice at my chamber, to confer upon that which Now, for Sir William Mounson, if it be his his majesty gave us in commandment for our opt

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might stay till he spake with his majesty, saying it could be no casting back to the business; which I did approve.

Myself, with the rest of my fellows, upon due and mature advice, perfected our report touching the chancery; for the receiving whereof, I pray you put his majesty in mind at his coming, to appoint some time for us to wait upon him altogether, for the delivery in of the same, as we did in our former certificate.

For the revenue matters, I reserve them to his majesty's coming; and in the mean time I doubt not but Mr. Secretary Winwood will make some kind of report thereof to his majesty.

For the conclusion of your letter concerning my

TO SIR GEORGE VILLIERS, ABOUT THE EARL own comfort, I can but say the psalm of " Quid OF SOMERSET.


I received from you a letter of very brief and clear directions; and I think it a great blessing of God upon me and my labours, that my directions come by so clear a conduit, as they receive no tincture in the passage.

retribuam?" God, that giveth me favour in his majesty's eyes, will strengthen me in his majesty's service. I ever rest

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To requite your postscript of excuse for scribbling, I pray you excuse that the paper is not gilt, I writing from Westminster-Hall, where we are not so fine.

Yesterday my lord chancellor, the Duke of Lenox, and myself, spent the whole afternoon at the Tower, in the examination of Somerset, upon the articles sent from his majesty, and some other additionals, which were in effect contained in the former, but extended to more particularity, by A LETTER TO THE KING,WITH HIS MAJESTY'S occasion of somewhat discovered by Cotton's examination, and Mr. Vice-Chamberlain's information.

He is full of protestations, and would fain keep that quarter toward Spain clear; using but this for argument, that he had such fortunes from his majesty, as he could not think of bettering his conditions from Spain, because, as he said, he was no military man. He cometh nothing so far on, for that which concerneth the treaty, as Cotton, which doth much aggravate suspicion against him; the farther particulars I reserve to his majesty's coming.

In the end," tanquam obiter," but very effectually, my lord chancellor put him in mind of the state he stood in for the impoisonment; but he was little moved with it, and pretended carelessness of life, since ignominy had made him unfit for his majesty's service. I am of opinion that the fair usage of him, as it was fit for the Spanish examinations, and for the questions touching the papers and despatches, and all that, so it was no good preparative to make him descend into himself touching his present danger: and, therefore, my lord chancellor and myself thought not good to insist upon it at this time.

I have received from my lord chief justice the examination of Sir William Mounson; with whom we mean to proceed to farther examination with all speed.

My lord chief justice is altered touching the reexamination of the lady, and desired me that we


IT MAY PLEASE YOUR MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY, Your majesty hath put me upon a work of providence in this great cause, which is to break and distinguish future events into present cases; and so to present them to your royal judgment, that, in this action, which hath been carried with so great prudence, justice, and clemency, there may be, for that which remaineth, as little surprise as is possible; but that things duly foreseen may have their remedies and directions in readiness; wherein I cannot forget what the poet Martial saith; "O quantum est subitis casibus ingenium?" signifying, that accident is many times more subtle than foresight, and overreacheth expectation; and, besides, I know very well the meanness of my own judgment, in comprehending or forecasting what may follow.

It was your majesty's pleasure also, that I should couple the suppositions with my opinion in every of them, which is a harder task; but yet your majesty's commandment requireth my obedience, and your trust giveth me assurance.

I will put the case, which I wish; that Somerset should make a clear confession of his offences, before he be produced to trial.

In this case it seemeth your majesty will have a new consult; the points whereof will be, 1. Whether your majesty will stay the trial, and so save them both from the stage, and that public ignominy. 2. Or whether you will, or may fitly,

by law, have the trial proceed, and stay or reprieve | upon presumptions. For certainly there may be an the judgment, which saveth the lands from for- evidence so balanced, as it may have sufficient feiture, and the blood from corruption. 3. Or matter for the conscience of the peers to convict whether you will have both trial and judgment him, and yet leave sufficient matter in the conproceed, and save the blood only, not from cor- science of a king upon the same evidence to parrupting, but from spilling. don his life; because the peers are astringed by necessity either to acquit or condemn ; but grace is free: and, for my part, I think the evidence in this present case will be of such a nature.

These be the depths of your majesty's mercy, which I may not enter into: but for honour and reputation, they have these grounds:

That the blood of Overbury is already revenged by divers executions.

That confession and penitency are the footstools of mercy; adding this circumstance likewise, that the former offenders did none of them make a clear confession.

That the great downfall of so great persons carrieth in itself a heavy judgment, and a kind of civil death, although their lives should not be taken.

All which may satisfy honour for sparing their lives. But if your majesty's mercy should extend to the first degree, which is the highest, of sparing the stage and the trial; then three things are to be considered:

First, That they make such a submission or deprecation, as they prostrate themselves, and all that they have, at your majesty's feet, imploring your mercy.

Secondly, That your majesty, in your own wisdom, do advise what course you will take, for the utter extinguishing of all hopes of resuscitating of their fortunes and favour; whereof if there should be the least conceit, it will leave in men a great deal of envy and discontent.

And, lastly; Whether your majesty will not suffer it to be thought abroad, that there is cause of farther examination of Somerset, concerning matters of estate, after he shall begin once to be a confessant, and so make as well a politic ground, as a ground of clemency, for farther stay. And for the second degree, of proceeding to trial, and staying judgment, I must better inform myself by precedents, and advise with my lord chancellor.

The second case is, if that fall out which is likest, as things stand, and which we expect, which is, that the lady confess; and that Somerset himself plead not guilty, and be found guilty: In this case, first, I suppose your majesty will not think of any stay of judgment, but that the public process of justice pass on.

Secondly, For your mercy to be extended to both for pardon of their execution, I have partly touched in the considerations applied to the former case; whereunto may be added, that as there is ground of mercy for her, upon her penitency and free confession, and will be much more upon his finding guilty; because the malice on his part will be thought the deeper source of the offence; so there will be ground for mercy on his part, upon the nature of the proof; and because it rests chiefly VOL. II.-42

Thirdly, It shall be my care so to moderate the manner of charging him, as it might make him not odious beyond the extent of mercy.

Lastly, All these points of mercy and favour are to be understood with this limitation, if he do not, by his contemptuous and insolent carriage at the bar, make himself incapable and unworthy of them.

The third case is, if he should stand mute and will not plead, whereof, your majesty knoweth, there hath been some secret question.

In this case I should think fit, that, as in public, both myself, and chiefly my lord chancellor, sitting then as Lord Steward of England, should dehort and deter him from that desperation; so, nevertheless, that as much should be done for him, as was done for Weston; which was to adjourn the court for some days, upon a Christian ground, that he may have time to turn from that mind of destroying himself; during which time your majesty's farther pleasure may be known.

The fourth case is that which I should be very sorry it should happen, but it is a future contingent; that is, if the peers should acquit him, and find him not guilty.

In this case the lord steward must be provided what to do. For, as it hath been never seen, as I conceive it, that there should be any rejecting of the verdict, or any respiting of the judgment of the acquittal; so, on the other side, this case requireth, that because there be many high and heinous offences, though not capital, for which he may be questioned in the Star Chamber, or otherwise, that there be some touch of that in general at the conclusion, by my Lord Steward of England; and that, therefore, he be remanded to the Tower as close prisoner.

For the matter of examination, or other proceedings, my lord chancellor with my advice hath set down,

To-morrow, being Monday, for the re-examination of the lady:

Wednesday next, for the meeting of the judges concerning the evidence:

Thursday, for the examination of Somerset himself, according to your majesty's instructions:

Which three parts, when they shall be performed, I will give your majesty advertisement with speed, and in the mean time be glad to receive from your majesty, whom it is my part to inform truly, such directions or significations of your pleasure as this advertisement may induce,

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Yesterday being Wednesday, I spent four or five hours with the judges whom his majesty designed to take consideration with, the four judges of the king's bench, of the evidence against Somerset: they all concur in opinion, that the questioning and drawing him on to trial is most honourable and just, and that the evidence is fair and good.

His majesty's letter to the judges concerning the "Commendams" was full of magnanimity and wisdom. I perceive his majesty is never less alone, than when he is alone; for I am sure there was nobody by him to inform him, which made



The judges have given a day over, till the second Saturday of the next term; so as that matter may endure farther consideration, for his majesty not only not to lose ground, but to win ground.

To-morrow is appointed for the examination of Somerset, which, by some infirmity of the Duke of Lenox, was put off from this day. When this is done, I will write more fully, ever resting Your true and devoted servant, FR. BACON.

May 2, 1616.

I have received my letter from his majesty, with his marginal notes, which shall be my directions, being glad to perceive I understand his majesty so well. That same little charm, which may be secretly infused into Somerset's ear some few hours before his trial, was excellently well thought of by his majesty; and I do approve it both for matter and time; only, if it seem good to his majesty, I would wish it a little enlarged: for if it be no more than to spare his blood, he hath a kind of proud humour which may overwork the medicine. Therefore I could wish it were made a little stronger, by giving him some TO SIR GEORGE VILLIERS, OF SOMERSET'S hopes that his majesty will be good to his lady and child; and that time, when justice and his SIR, majesty's honour is once saved and satisfied, may produce farther fruit of his majesty's compassion: which was to be seen in the example of South-ever stand with his majesty's honour and safety; ampton, whom his majesty after attainder restored: and Cobham and Gray, to whom his majesty, notwithstanding they were offenders against his own person, yet he spared their lives; and for Gray, his majesty gave him back some part of his estate, and was upon point to deliver him much more. He having been so highly in his majesty's favour, may hope well, if he hurt not himself by his public misdemeanor.

For the person that should deliver this message, I am not so well seen in the region of his friends, as to be able to make choice of a particular; my lord treasurer, the Lord Knollys, or any of his nearest friends should not be trusted with it, for they may go too far, and perhaps work contrary to his majesty's ends. Those which occur to me are my Lord Hay, my Lord Burleigh, of England, I mean, and Sir Robert Carre.

My Lady Somerset hath been re-examined, and his majesty is found both a true prophet and a most just king in that scruple he made; for now she expoundeth the word He, that should send the tarts to Elwys's wife, to be of Overbury, and not of Somerset; but for the person that should bid her, she said it was Northampton or Weston, not pitching upon certainty, which giveth some advantage to the evidence.


I am far enough from opinion, that the redintegration or resuscitation of Somerset's fortune can

and therein I think I expressed myself fully to his majesty in one of my former letters; and I know well any expectation or thought abroad will do much hurt. But yet the glimmering of that which the king hath done to others, by way of talk to him, cannot hurt, as I conceive; but I would not have that part of the message as from the king, but added by the messenger as from himself. This I remit to his majesty's princely judgment.

For the person, though he trust the lieutenant well, yet it must be some new man: for, in these cases, that which is ordinary worketh not so great impressions as that which is new and extraordinary.

The time I wish to be the Tuesday, being the even of his lady's arraignment; for, as his majesty first conceived, I would not have it stay in his stomach too long, lest it sour in the digestion; and to be too near the time, may be thought but to tune him for that day.

I send herewithal the substance of that which I purpose to say nakedly, and only in that part which is of tenderness; for that I conceive was his majesty's meaning.

It will be necessary, because I have distributed parts to the two serjeants, as that paper doth

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